Today in Literary History – November 18, 1865 – Mark Twain’s first story

Mark Twain was enormously famous in his day and continues to be so today. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are still read and enjoyed and there is a steady flow of Twain quotations (some a bit bogus) on the Internet.

Twain’s first taste of fame came on November 18, 1865, with the publication of his short story “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog” in The New York Saturday Press. It was immediately popular and was soon republished in other magazines and newspapers around The United States and England and was even translated into French.


Twain kept working on the story and the published versions changed over the next year. The story’s title also went through several alterations. In 1867 Twain’s first book was published, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Stories, with a revamped version.

Twain, whose real name was Samuel Clemens, capitalized on his fame and never looked back.


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